Thursday, January 28, 2010

Big Law Firms Give Big Money to Mayor Ballard

During a conversation I had with candidate Greg Ballard right before the Election of 2007, we talked about how big law firms get rewarded with no bid city legal contracts that those law firms receive in exchange for large political contributions. Those law firms then turn around and fleece the taxpayers through inflated billings and engaging in unnecessary legal work. (For example, a law firm with a contract for legal services might send three attorneys to a hearing when one would do.) The law firms then turn the money they make into yet more political contributions.

No one ever questions the legal bills of those law firms, i.e. big political contributors. It's a vicious cycle, a situation in which taxpayer money for campaigns is extracted through legal billing.

I walked away pleased with our conversation. Candidate Ballard seemed very aware of the problem and pledged to put a stop to it. It was consistent with how Ballard had campaigned - someone who would be a different type of Mayor, someone who would stand up for taxpayers and put an end to the soaking they were taking at the hands of big Indianapolis law firms which dominated the political process through large donations.

As people are finding out, Candidate Ballard could not be more different than his evil twin Mayor Ballard. I looked at the Mayor's 2009 finance report. As many law firms give individually through partners rather than in the name of the law firm, I went through the names of every attorney listed and ascertained from the Roll of Attorneys where they worked. My research showed that the media missed the large contributions by a couple law firms (Krieg Devault and Bingham McHale) which gave almost entirely through partners at their firm.

Here are the totals for contributions by law firms (and their attorneys) to Ballard during 2009:

Baker & Daniels $36,350
Krieg Devault $32,250
Bingham McHale $30,700
Barnes & Thornburg $20,750
Bose McKinney $14,500
Other $9,175

Total: $143,725

A new kind of Mayor? That's definitely not what we elected in November of 2007.


Gary R. Welsh said...

He's raising close to 20% of his campaign dollars from attorneys doing business with the City. The balance is being raised from other city contractors, including construction companies, architects, engineers and consultants. Only about 5% of his money comes from individual contributors who aren't doing business with the City.

M Theory said...

It was that 5% of individual contributors that got him elected with our little $50 and $100 and $5contributions we gave throughout the campaign because we believed he would not be a mayor that let the law firms continue to rape the tax payer.

We naively believed that he would spread the city's business to small independents throughout the city.

I will not vote for Ballard again.

I shall never forget that Ballard said NOTHING when Brizzi took the stage on election night and took the credit for Ballard's victory.

The credit belonged to that 5% of ordinary individuals that did something extraordinary in the summer/fall of 2007 who never believed we would be betrayed.